Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1866-1879 - Heneage Lane (City of London)

Rabbi Benjamin Artom was born in 1835 in Asti, Piedmont. He became the first to hold the post of rabbi of Naples. In 1866 he accepted a call to become the spiritual leader (or hakham) of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews at Bevis Marks, no. 4 Heneage Lane, the oldest congregation in Britain. On his arrival in London Artom knew no English (he delivered his first sermon in French), but his mastery of the language became such that his sermons were published in book form in 1873.

During the 1850s and 1860s, when the major Ashkenazi synagogues in London were contemplating amalgamation with Nathan Marcus Adlee as its spiritual leader, Bevis Marks maintained its independence under his guidance. He extended the influence of the congregation beyond its own confines. In 1870 he agreed to consecrate a new synagogue erected by the community of Dutch Jews in the City of London (after Nathan Adler had refused to do so). Artom died in January 1879 in Brighton.

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